Pierre Ragues and the Signatech Alpine Elf team showed impressive pace during the Lone Star Le Mans race at Circuit of the Americas, but their push for victory was hampered by a brake disc failure after 1h25.
The team demonstrated winning potential around the 5.513km Austin circuit against tough opposition. Unfortunately, the front-right brake disc failed right at the start of Pierre’s first stint, losing four minutes of time (two laps) for repairs in the pits.
The time loss dropped the #36 Alpine A470 down the order, but they showed resilience to try and mount a comeback. The race pace was among the best in the competitive LMP2 field, but they were ultimately forced to settle for ninth overall and sixth in class.
Signatech Alpine Elf had enjoyed a more representative performance on the Texan track claiming third on the grid for Sunday’s race. Alongside Thomas Laurent and Andre Negrão, Pierre was hopeful of a return to the podium in this fifth round of the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship.
Andre was on starting duties and was able to retain third place as cars jostled for the early positions. He moved up to second within the opening 15 minutes of the race, and briefly took the lead during the opening pit stop phase. Pierre took over in second place within half-a-second of the category leader, before the brake problems emerged.
Despite superlative work from the team’s mechanics, the time loss saw them drop two laps and any realistic chance of a podium push. Nonetheless, Pierre kept pushing and was one of the fastest on track as his stint resumed. Thomas took over with 3h40 remaining, handing back to Pierre just under one hour later. A fast and trouble-free second stint kept the team in the hunt for a top-ten finish, with Andre and Thomas completing the race duties.
Pierre said: We have to look beyond the results sheets to see the positives from this weekend; we have shown confident and competitive pace with our Alpine A470 at COTA all event. We set encouragingly quick lap times which allowed us to fight for the lead in the early phase of the race. Once again, though, our potential was undone by issues out of our control. At the very start of my first stint, we lost the front-right brake disc which forced me back into the garage. The team did an exceptional job to minimise the time loss, but it was always going to be an uphill battle after that. Still, we were able to push hard, setting some of the quickest times in LMP2 and showing our speed. We can’t be happy with the end result, but we can certainly be pleased with our performance level here. This is what we have to take away for the next round, Sebring.”
Lone Star Le Mans / 6 Hours of COTA – Result
1. United Autosports n°22 182 tours
2. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 +24’’152
3. JOTA n°38 + 1 tour
4. Cool Racing n°42 + 1 tour
5. Racing Team Nederland n°29 + 1 tour
6. Signatech Alpine Elf n°36 + 2 tours
7. High Class Racing n°33 + 3 tours
8. Cetilar Racing n°33 + 4 tours
9. Dragonspeed n°21 + 5 tours *
* concurrent inéligible aux points
Trophée FIA LMP2 Équipes
1. United Autosports n°22 – 94 points
2. Jackie Chan DC Racing n°37 – 90 points
3. JOTA n°38 – 77 points
4. Racing Team Nederland n°29 – 76 points
5. Signatech Alpine Elf n°36 – 64 points
6. Cool Racing n°42 – 61 points
7. High Class Racing n°33 – 41 points
8. Cetilar Racing n°33 – 30 points